In November 2017, CYCLE launched as part of Roger Williams University (RWU) in downtown Providence, RI at the University College campus, building upon nearly 25 years of educational justice, research, and school reform support work previously housed at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University. Prior to starting CYCLE, the seven founding staff members worked for AISR’s New England-based Community Organizing & Engagement and District & Systems Transformation programs.
With deep ties to the fields of education and community organizing locally, regionally, and nationally, CYCLE was established in a university-based environment with a clear commitment to an innovative mix of field-based technical assistance, participatory learning and knowledge generation, and applied research. Expressing his excitement about the new venture, the late RWU President Donald J. Farish said, “I believe merging the two teams from Brown’s Annenberg Institute into a single initiative at RWU – and then coupling it with RWU’s ongoing commitment to create access to higher education for traditionally underserved populations – will create synergies that will dramatically increase both the size and the effectiveness of our programs that support underserved populations. That outcome will serve not just the individual students themselves but also the communities from which they come – and ultimately the state as a whole.”
In 2018, CYCLE was awarded three new grants — from the Central Falls School District, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the Bay and Paul Foundations — all focused on supporting communities and school districts to more deeply understand the root causes of inequities in order drive improvement in their school systems. These awards have solidified CYCLE’s presence as a valuable new partner for the field.