Belgium’s Prince Gabriel to continue studies in England

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The Belgian Royal Family has announced that Prince Gabriel, second child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, is moving to England to continue his education.

The news came as the prince, who is second in line to the Belgian throne, celebrated his eighteenth birthday.

As his family shared new images of him to mark his coming of age, they also confirmed that he had obtained his International Baccalaureate after two years of study at the International School in Brussels and would now head to Warwickshire where he will enrol at the National Mathematics and Science College.

The college offers specialist sixth form studies for 15 to 19 year olds and bills itself as ”preparing students for entry to world-leading universities.” The Belgian Royal Palace confirmed that the course the prince will follow is designed for students aiming to study science, technology, engineering or maths at tertiary level.

As the royal birthday celebrations continued, the royals shared an album of family photos of Gabriel from the past eighteen years.

Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie was born on August 20th 2001 at the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht, the second child and first son of Philippe, then still heir to the throne, and Mathilde. Gabriel was third in line to the throne at the time of his birth, behind his father and his older sister, Elisabeth, but moved to second on the accession of Philippe as King of the Belgians on July 21st 2013.

Gabriel is seen at major events, with his last big public appearance coming on his country’s National Day on July 21st.

SOL scores plummet across Northern Virginia; educators say comparisons meaningless

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Standards of Learning test scores fell dramatically this spring from the last time they were administered in Northern Virginia schools, confirming the fears of many about the impacts of a pandemic-plagued school year on student learning and the limits of virtual instruction.

Statewide, passing rates on the SOL tests fell by double-digit percentages from the last time they were administered, in 2019, according to data released Thursday by the Virginia Department of Education. Passing rates among all students for English tests fell 11.5%, for science tests, 27.2%, and for math tests, 34.1%.

The story was similar across Northern Virginia, as rates were down for all tests in all localities. In Prince William County, the state’s second-largest school district, the passing rates were down as follows:

8.9% in English, to 72% passing

29.6% in science, to 57% passing

34.9% in math, to 54% passing

The city of Manassas saw even larger drops, with passing rates down 26.6% in English, 45.6% in science and 62% in math. Only 27% of Manassas students passed their math SOL, compared with 71% two years prior.

There were some key logistical differences between the tests in 2019 and 2021 outside of the pandemic. For one, the test sample size was smaller than in previous years, because many students were given the option to take them in person or at home, but only in-person tests were counted in the state’s data. In a news release, the state said in a typical school year, participation in the tests is usually around 99%. In tested grades in 2021, 75.5% of students took the reading assessment, 78.7% took math, and 80% took science.

Additionally, in previous years, students within a certain range of scores were able to retake parts of the test. This year, that wasn’t allowed.

Still, the scores are the first somewhat proximate comparison point for standardized learning assessment since the pandemic’s start. In the spring of 2020, as COVID-19 was first causing school closures, the state cancelled the tests for the first time since their current iteration was implemented in 1998. The U.S. Department of Education waived its standardized testing.

For some, the results underscore the difficulty in virtual instruction, a return to which schools are trying to avoid this fall through mitigation strategies such as masking and vaccination. They can also be used to help educators focus on areas where students fell behind most last year.

Before the results were released, Prince William County Schools Superintendent LaTanya McDade said the division would use them to see “where the gaps are.”

“In-person learning is the optimal learning model. … I think the data is going to show us … where we need to focus our time and energy in terms of content, concepts and standards,” she told InsideNoVa, adding that the division wouldn’t be doing comparative studies with the data from 2019. “We do understand that it was a totally different situation and educational environment for students. But I do think the data will be very telling when we think about unfinished learning – what is unfinished?”

McDade’s sentiment was echoed by some in Manassas. At the Manassas School Board meeting Tuesday night, Craig Gfeller, the system’s new director of student achievement, said the test scores would not be used to evaluate teacher performance. Instead they will be used to create plans for students and get a broader sense of where the most acute learning loss was among students.

Board Chair Sanford Williams said that was the only way to use them, but comparing the scores to 2019’s would be useless. “It’s kind of like someone playing golf and you put a blindfold on them and only give them one club and have them play the whole course.”

Board member Tim Demeria has long been a critic of the current testing regiment, but says this year they’re even less significant given the turmoil of the past school year. Manassas was one of the last divisions in the area to bring students back into classrooms.

“Irrelevant,” Demeria called the test scores, saying it was incredibly urgent that students remain in the classroom this year, but that the urgency wasn’t created by falling test scores.

“Our kids weren’t in the building,” he added. “The important assessment of our children for me is how our teachers assess our children. That’s what they’re there for, that’s what they go to school for. And they knw how our children are progressing more than a stupid test does.”

Complete results by school division, individual school, grade level and test are available on the Virginia Department of Education’s web site.

8-year-old Maryland boy killed in shooting loved math, God and family: report

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An 8-year-old Maryland boy shot to death on Monday loved mathematics, God and his family, according to local reports.

Prince George’s County police responded to reports of a shooting on Tuesday night after a white sedan pulled into a parking lot outside an apartment building on the 1600 block of Brightseat Road and began shooting at a group of adults, police said in a press release.

Police then discovered 8-year-old Peyton “PJ” Evans with gunshot wounds and transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

“My son was 8 years old. He was born on Valentine’s Day, 2013. My son loved God. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved his teammates,” PJ’s mother Tiffani Evans told 7 News, a Maryland ABC station. “If I can’t stress nothing out here man, love on y’all kids. I loved my son and before my son closed his eyes, 10 minutes before he closed his eyes, I said, ‘Boy I love you. You played a hell of a game in that scrimmage.’”


PJ was a football fan, straight-A student and a lover of mathematics, according to his mom.

“He worked his a– off, excuse my French,” Evans told 7 News. “My son was a mathematician. He loved math. That was his thing. My son is in Heaven and I know it because he loved the Lord!”

Prince George’s County Police Chief Aziz said during a Wednesday press conference that PJ was playing video games after football practice at school when he was fatally shot. The department does not have any leads so far but is “working diligently” to determine who is responsible for the boy’s tragic death.


“They’ve been working so long … hours, and so hard, because it hits really close to home because many of us have children,” Aziz said of the officers and detectives on the case. “So the pain is real.”

Aziz spoke with Evans on Tuesday night and said the police department is “grieving with” her family and “assured her” that the department would bring justice to the victim and closure for his family.

Authorities are offering a $25,000 reward for anyone with information that could lead to a suspect’s arrest and are asking citizens to contact detectives at 301-516-2512 or anonymously call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).