MGH/James P. Timilty Middle School Partnership

The MGH/Timilty Partnership is a business/education partnership formed in 1989 between the Massachusetts General Hospital and the James P. Timilty Middle School. Its mission is to enrich the educational opportunities, improve the health, and expand the horizons of students at the Timilty school.


Valeria Lowe-Barehmi, Principal
Susan Berglund, Manager, Mass General Hospital, Center for Community Health
Improvement, Youth Partnerships
  The Timilty, one of three middle schools in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) system to
receive a state Expanded Learning Time grant, has 656 students, 46 percent Black, 47
percent Latino, 3 percent White, 1 percent Asian, 1 percent Native American and .8
percent Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic, 18 percent Limited English Proficient (for 38 percent
of the students their first language is not English), and 23 percent of the students receive
special education. Approximately 81 percent of Timilty families are low income and
meet the federal guidelines for the subsidized lunch program.

The Science Connection Program engages students in scientific inquiry with the long-
term goals of increasing science literacy, enhancing student interest in science/health Program StaffJoan McCarthy
Alison Antwi

careers, and creating opportunities for students to interact with positive adults and
mentors. The key elements of the program include, Science Fair Mentoring, Teacher
Professional Development, Science in the Classroom, Science Family Activity Nights, and

Science Fair Mentoring
MGH mentors and Timilty mentees met at Mass General Hospital every other Friday from October to February. Students and mentors worked together to decide on a question that could be answered through scientific investigation. Mentors guided students in setting up experiments, documenting observations, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing for various oral presentations that would defend their investigation.

Timilty Science Fair
MGH assisted in organizing Timilty’s week-long school-wide science fair effort.

Science in the Classroom
The Science Connection program continued its collaboration with the MGH Institute of
Health Professions (IHP) through the Science in the Classroom initiative. The MGH
program manager worked with the IHP Physical Therapy Department to design a
curriculum that addressed health concerns for Timilty students and aligned this with the
Boston Public School science curriculum standards. The issue of obesity was identified
by the school as a health problem. According to data collected by the school nurse, 38
percent of sixth grade students were referred for having BMI’s (Body Mass Index) over
25 (above the 90th percentile according to the CDC growth charts). The numbers for
students referred in grades seven and eight were 32 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
As a result of this data, 12 students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the
MGH Institute of Health Professions designed and implemented an obesity prevention
program called “We are S.T.R.O. N.G” for 200 Timilty sixth graders for a period for
four weeks that included the “STEP UP” program.  S.T.R.O.N.G. stood for smart, trained, ready, organized, nutritious, and growing. The main goal of the STRONG program was to raise participants’ awareness about the
benefits of staying healthy. The goal of “STEP UP” was to raise participants’ awareness
about the benefits of staying physically active, and to provide them with some practical
and accessible ways to start thinking about the impact of their individual choices on their
health and well being. The in-class portion included lessons on goal setting, the
importance of balancing energy intake with energy expenditure, and basic physiology,
including measuring heart rate. The gym portion consisted of several exercise stations
where participants were instructed in exercises and monitored as they performed.
Formative and summative evaluation of “STEP UP” encompassed four major themes,
including active participation of the students, learning of topics taught during classroom
sessions, optimal utilization of class and gym space, and changes in overall health beliefs
concerning self-efficacy, locus of control, and the benefits of exercise.

Teacher Professional Development
 A new addition to the Science Connection Program’s Teacher Professional
Development effort was the Boston Teacher Residency Program (BTR). BTR is a four-
year district-based, teacher education program which, building on the medical residency
model, combines a full year teacher residency in a school with three years of new teacher
support. Four Boston Teacher Residents joined the staff to work with four science teacher
mentors in grades seven and eight. The MGH program manager, at the request of the
school principal, assumed the role of BTR Site Director. In addition to supporting the
nine science teachers, she also directed the mentoring and training of the new science
teacher residents. The program manager conducted Grand Rounds to expose the residents
to a variety of teaching strategies being implemented in classes, to build capacity in the
group of experienced mentor/teachers and to foster an environment of collaboration in the
science department.

Science Family Activity Events
The Science Connection Program held two Science Family Activity events this year at
the Museum of Science. A Science Family Activity Day was held on a Thursday in
January and hosted 200 sixth grade students and about 25 parents/family members who
enjoyed the Sea Monsters Omni movie, a special presentation in Cahner’s Theater, and
the hands on activities in the Human Body exhibit. A Science Family Activity Night held
in May attracted more than 270 parents, students, and staff members. Families enjoyed a
variety of exhibits with math and science themes presented by the Timilty teachers.

SummerWorks a seven-week career exploration initiative for graduating Timilty eighth
graders, provides summer internships at MGH. In addition to being aligned with the
Science Connections goals of increasing science literacy, enhancing student interest in
science/health careers and creating opportunities for students to interact with positive
adults and mentors, SummerWorks also provides students with real-life work
opportunities, and increases students’ self esteem and sense of personal responsibility.

About this Program

Science Fair Mentoring  and Timilty Science Fair Data
During the 2007-2008 academic year, MGH/Timilty Science Fair Mentoring
successfully matched 27 students with 31 mentors and co-mentors. Mentors, hailed
from a variety of departments including nursing, pharmacy, environmental services,
respiratory care, nutrition, biomedical engineering and research.
• To support the annual Timilty Science Fair, MGH managed and placed 56 volunteers who judged more than 600
projects, 30 judges were MGH/Partners employees, and the remaining judges were
Northeastern University, Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments
and Demonstrations (RE-SEED) volunteers, CityYear students, Boston Teacher
Residents, Boston Public Schools employees, or community volunteers.
•  Nine students were finalists at the school-wide fair.
• Four won awards at the Regional Science Fair.
• Five students competed at the state level, where one student won a second place

Pre- and Post-Science in the Classroom Data
• Prior to the beginning of the program, nine percent of students reported not eating any
fruits or vegetables while at the post-test, only two percent reported not eating fruits
or vegetables.

• Prior to the program four percent of students reported not doing any physical activity,
this dropped to one percent after the program.
• 39 percent of the students reported they were active at least 45 minutes per day, this
increased to 58 percent after the program.
Summerworks Data:
During the 2007-2008 academic year, SummerWorks selected 17 interns, three of who
had participated with the Science Mentoring effort.


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