The White House had planned to hold off until summer to make the announcement — in part because of concern that St. Andrew’s might become the site of protests while school was still in session. But parents began to ask questions and express security concerns as rumors surfaced, and school leaders sent a letter to parents on Monday, signed by the head of the school, Robert Kosasky, and the middle school head, Rodney Glasgow (see full text below), saying that Barron Trump would join the class of 2024.
First lady Melania Trump said in a statement:
“We are very excited for our son to attend St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. It is known for its diverse community and commitment to academic excellence. The mission of St. Andrew’s is ‘to know and inspire each child in an inclusive community dedicated to exceptional teaching, learning, and service,’ all of which appealed to our family. We look forward to the coming school years at St. Andrew’s.”
The letter says that school leaders are working with the Secret Service to ensure that “logistics and security will continue to work smoothly and discreetly next year for all of our students and families” in order to maintain “the positive feel, flow, and safety of our campuses.”
St. Andrew’s, where tuition will cost the Trumps about $40,000 a year, is known for its pioneering use of brain-based research to help students of all abilities to succeed and for providing extra support for students who need it. Class sizes are small — usually 11 to 13 students — and the school says that all of its graduates go to college, including Ivy League schools, small liberal arts colleges, state schools, and schools of art, engineering and design. The school also says athletics are an “integral part” of its educational program. Among numerous sports, it offers golf, a favorite of Barron’s.
The school’s website says it strives to educate students “in an inclusive environment that embodies the faith and perspective of the Episcopal Church” and that it “seeks a broadly diverse community to promote educational excellence.” The school’s programs, it says, “are designed to serve students of varied interests and abilities capable of achievement in a challenging academic environment.”
In light traffic, the ride from the White House to St. Andrew’s, in the elite enclave of Potomac, is a little more than 30 minutes.
With a 75,000-square-foot classroom building on the 19-acre campus where the middle and upper schools are located, St. Andrew’s boasts impressive facilities. They include a 14,000-volume, two-story library with an audiovisual classroom and a periodical reading room; a multipurpose theater/assembly/lunch space that features a stage and light/sound booth; two visual arts studios with ceramics wheels and a kiln; a darkroom; two full-size basketball courts; a fitness room; a dance studio; and two full turf fields for softball, baseball, lacrosse and soccer.
In 2011, St. Andrew’s opened its Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University School of Education, to help teachers apply the best research on teaching, learning and the brain to the classroom. In 2013, it was invited by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education to become the eighth school to join a global network of schools that conducts cutting-edge research and leads professional development in that area.
Tuition at St. Andrew’s for 2017-18 is, according to the website:
|Kindergarten — Grade 2||$27,490|
The president identifies as a Presbyterian, but it is not uncommon for people of different denominations and religions to attend St. Andrew’s. Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, converted to Judaism, and she and her husband, Jared Kushner, who moved to Washington to serve in the administration, send their young children to two Jewish schools.
Numerous other modern presidents have been faced with the same decision, with nearly all choosing private schools over public. In the past half century, only President Jimmy Carter sent his child to a D.C. public school while in the White House. The choice of St. Andrew’s for Barron Trump marks the first time in decades that an incumbent president with a school-age child has picked a school other than Sidwell Friends, an elite Quaker school with campuses in the District and Bethesda.
President Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, enrolled at Sidwell in 2009. Malia graduated in 2016, took a gap year, and will attend Harvard University in the fall. Sasha is a rising junior. The Obamas decided to stay in Washington after leaving the White House so she could finish high school at Sidwell.
President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, graduated from high school before he was in the White House. They both attended Austin High School in Texas.
President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, went to Sidwell, and the president gave the commencement speech the year she graduated. Hillary Clinton helped persuade the Obamas to send their children to Sidwell.
President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, went to Stevens Elementary School and the Rose Hardy Middle School in the District.
President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan, went to Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md. Her senior prom was held at the White House.
President Richard Nixon’s daughters, Tricia and Julie, both attended Sidwell during his tenure as vice president. They graduated from Chapin School in New York City before their father became president.
Here’s the text of the letter that St. Andrew’s sent to community members, dated May 15, 2017:
Dear St. Andrew’s Families,On Friday, a report began to circulate online that Barron Trump will attend St. Andrew’s next year. With consent from the family, we write to confirm that Barron will be a member of the Class of 2024.As a school we are clear about our mission and values, and about who we are as an inclusive Episcopal community. Our inclusive culture and values are at the heart of why our faculty and staff, alumni, and current families love and take pride in St. Andrew’s. As we came to know Barron through the admission process, it became clear that he, like all of our newly enrolled students, will be a great addition to St. Andrew’s.Some parents have reached out to us with questions and comments about how day-to-day life at St. Andrew’s might be affected. We want to assure you that our community was at the center of our discernment process. School leaders are working directly with the Secret Service to ensure that Postoak Campus logistics and security will continue to work smoothly and discreetly next year for all of our students and families. We are committed to maintaining the positive feel, flow, and safety of our campuses.As you process this news, you are welcome to reach out to either of us or to your child’s division head. If you happen to be contacted by any media organizations about Barron or St. Andrew’s, we ask that you direct those inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. This news is being communicated directly with students in grades 5-12 this morning.As school leaders, we affirm this decision professionally and personally. We thank you for supporting your children and all of our children at St. Andrew’s so well.Faithfully,Robert Kosasky, Head of School
Rodney Glasgow, Head of Middle School and Chief Diversity Officer
This story has been updated.