WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have decided that their two daughters will attend Sidwell Friends School, a private institution that Chelsea Clinton attended as first daughter a decade ago.
"A number of great schools were considered," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for the president-elect's wife, Michelle. "In the end, the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now."
She said Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, "bring with them a number of security and privacy concerns that come with being part of the new first family -- and the school they've selected is positioned to appropriately accommodate that."
And the girls have become good friends with Vice President-elect Joe Biden's grandchildren, who go to the school, she said.
Sidwell is a Quaker school with a campus in suburban Bethesda, Md., for kindergarten through fourth grade, where tuition is $28,442; and another in northwest Washington for fifth through 12th grades, where tuition is $29,442.
Malia is in fifth grade, Sasha in second.
Lelyveld said public schools were considered but the Obamas decided a private school was in the girls' best interest. In Chicago, Sasha and Malia attend the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where Michelle Obama is on the board.
"Mrs. Obama is the product of public education on the South Side of Chicago, and she believes strongly in the importance of good public schools for all kids," Lelyveld said.
"The Obama administration intends to work closely with the school systems in the years to come to ensure quality public education is available to all kids."
Letitia Baldrige -- First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's social secretary and chief of staff -- said Sidwell Friends was a good choice for the Obamas because of its quality and extra security. Caroline Kennedy attended first grade in a makeshift third-floor classroom inside the White House.
Still, "the children are under enormous pressure from the press and their fellow students and especially the mommies of their fellow students," who are eager for their children to attend sleepovers, Baldrige said.
"I'm sure they'll both be athletically inclined and play on all the sports teams, and they'll have a lot of fun," Baldrige said.
"But it won't be easy."
Nafeesa Syeed contributed to this report.