President Donald Trump’s son Barron will be moving to Washington soon. And next school year, he’ll attend St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Md., said a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, the first lady.
The school, which was founded in 1978, is in an upscale suburb a little over 20 miles from the White House. It offers preschool through 12th grade classes, which means Barron could technically graduate from the school, if his family stays in Washington that long. (Barron, 11, currently attends the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan. He remained in New York City to finish out the school year there.)
St. Andrew’s has about 580 students, according to its website, making it a medium- to large-sized private school for the area. The student-teacher ratio is 7-to-1, a lot lower than the national average of 16.1-to-1 in 2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And tuition at St. Andrew’s runs from $23,490 for prekindergarten to $40,650 for high school. (For more on the cost of private schools as it relates to recent presidents, go here.)
Back in January, Leigh Anne Cahill, an educational consultant in Washington, suggested to Education Week that St. Andrew’s might be the pick.
So why does she think the Trumps went with St. Andrew’s? “It’s a great school,” Cahill said. The school is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and “does have that spiritual component,” but it’s not “overly religious.”
And the school is known for its high-quality teacher training, Cahill said, which is informed by brain science. For instance, the teachers at the school are trained in the All Kinds of Minds program, which aims to use brain research to tailor instruction to different types of learners. (More on the school’s connection to All Kinds of Minds here.)
The school’s website touts St. Andrew’s connection to Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the brain research team at Johns Hopkins University, as well as its Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, which helps tailor instruction to students’ learning needs.
First lady Melania Trump said in a statement to the Associated Press that she picked the school because “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.”
Fun fact: Barron will be the first “first kid” in decades to attend a school other than the Sidwell Friends, Chelsea Clinton’s alma mater, and the school that both Obama girls attended. (Sasha Obama is still there, but Malia graduated last year and is planning to enroll in Harvard University.) President Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy was the last first child to attend public school while living in the White House.
Most folks in the Washington private school community expected the Trumps to look outside of Sidwell Friends, in part because it’s so closely associated with recent Democratic presidents. And St. Albans School, Vice President Al Gore’s son’s alma mater, was also considered out of the running. So was Georgetown Day School, which is known for its progressive curriculum.
So is it a good or a bad thing to be the school that the president’s child attends?
“I would think it’s completely a double-edged sword,” Cahill said. On the one hand, the school gets national attention. On the other, “there’s going to be a lot of media and political interference with this little guy.”
Other parents are likely to consider Barron’s presence as either a plus or minus. “You’re probably going to have [some] applicants who want to go there because the president’s child is there and other parents who run away screaming,” she said.
And then, of course, any school in which a presidential child enrolls has to begin thinking very seriously about security concerns, said Dick Jung, the director of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, of which St. Andrew’s is a member.
On the plus side, the school can get some pretty cool items for its gala auction, he said. Sidwell Friends, for example, got a signed copy of one of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses.
St. Andrew’s is already reaching out to parents who may have questions or concerns about Barron’s presence on campus.
“Some parents have reached out to us with questions and comments about how day-to-day life at St. Andrew’s might be affected,” wrote Robert Kosasky, the head of school, and Rodney Glasgow, the head of the middle school, in a May 15 message to parents. “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.”
And they are excited to have Barron join the community. “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,” they wrote.
Photo: President Donald Trump, accompanied by first Lady Melania Trump, introduces their son Barron Trump from the Truman Balcony of the White House during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn last month. Susan Walsh/AP
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