In New York City over 1,800 elementary public school classrooms had hazardous levels of lead paint, based on a 2019 inspection done by the Department of Education. How does lead in schools impact the school community and who is most impacted? Who is responsible for monitoring the impact of lead in schools? 

In Winter 2020, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist April Wen and students at the International High School for Health Sciences to peel back the problem with lead paint in NYC Schools. To investigate, students tested sites throughout their school to monitor lead levels, interviewed medical professionals and community stakeholders working on the issue, and created stop-motion videos to process their findings. 

The group gathered what they learned and created the video Peel It Back to teach others about how to prevent lead poisoning and what they can do if lead is impacting their school or community. 

Check out the video below! 

IHSHS Students

Mostafa Abdalla, Rolando Aguirre, Mahmoud Ahmed, Niloy Ahmed, Lorraine Arellano, Paula Arias, Angell Ayala Hernandez, Bryan Bastidas, Yamile Bastidas, Lady Calle, Sara Calvo, Stacy Carolyn Campbell Nunez, Waldy Cerpa, Nicolas Chiguasuque, Rosalina Chitic Guarcas, Kenia Cholom Tec, Jose Cruz Ortiz, Shirley Brigitee Cullquil Navarez, Yiengchuk Dorji, Robin Dragan, Maria Escalante, Rubi Espejo, Jose Espinal Medrano, Sanjida Fnu, Elhaysa Gomez, Juan Guaman Cabrera, Humberto Guch, Denise Gutierrez, Kenya Hernandez, Ilsy Nohemy Hernandez Alvarado, Yanquel Hernandez, Poe Poe Myat Hmue, Joselyn Huerta, Israt Jahan, Kevin Jimenez, Fariya Kabir, Dipson Khatri Chhetri, Fabian Kuclo, Dina Lagua Llgusa, Erick Lanchi, Wenkai Lin, Michelle Martinez, Yonathan David Martinez Perez, Alsidelvis, Mora Rodriguez, Arcideuris Mora Rodriguez, Maiesha Muntaki, Rassiel Munoz, Europe Oli, Maria Osorio, Sara Pandey, Randy Pena, Erlin Orlando Perez Hernandez, Brahyan Perez Vargas, Ketchina Pierre, Alessandro Pineda, Juan Pop Pan, Alejandro Quintero Escobar, Janaki Rai, Braian Ramirez, Jennifer Reynoso De Leon, Anyi Rodriguez, Camila Rodriguez, Steisy Rodriguez-Fernandez, Karelynn Sanchez, Maria Sanchez, Carla Sarmiento Moran, Subham Saud, Habibur Sejon, Liu Rong Shi, Myrny St. Vil, Genesis Suero Liranzo, Shafin Talha, Edward Tavarez, Felipe Santiago Tec Cruz, Melanie Toris Mora, Sonam Tsetso, Juan Valencia Arcila, Francisco Vicente Chali, Juan Vitinio, Mahraeil Yacoub, Juan Zavala

Resources & Links

International High School for Health Sciences helps new non-English speaking immigrant students acquire English language skills and develop the determination, compassion, and discipline for successful college study in medicine, nursing, health counseling, research, or in the administration of health care services. 

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Sonal Jessel, Morri Markowitz, and Michaela Rahimi


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • April Wen
  • Project Lead
  • Leigh Taylor
  • Project Support
  • Fielding Hong
  • International High School for Health Sciences
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Andre Machado

  • Principal
  • C. Anthony Finney