The videos you have seen depict the inner workings of schools that have been improving the literacy achievement among their mostly Hispanic, English-learner student populations. The schools use a number of strategies to accomplish this broad goal. The strategy illustrated here is Getting Results (GR), an approach to school improvement that helps school staffs focus on key goals for student learning and work steadily and systematically to accomplish them.
There is nothing particularly revolutionary about GR, except that it helps educators attain important learning goals for students. This turns out to be easier said than done. Often in education our goals for students are ambitious, but nebulous - and therefore elusive. The answer to this problem is not to create an enormous catalogue of narrow learning objectives, although defining learning objectives is certainly useful. Rather, the solution seems to be to create settings in schools where faculties work together to develop a common understanding of what their students need to accomplish, develop tasks and activities designed to help students accomplish them, evaluate their effectiveness, make adjustments, try again - then follow this cycle continuously in collaborative grade level or subject matter teams.
These activities are within reach of virtually all school staffs; indeed we can find elements of the GR model in most schools. But what is generally missing is an organized school-wide effort that involves the entire staff in concerted, focused, and ongoing examinations of what they are attempting to accomplish with students and whether they are being successful. Initiating and sustaining the necessary coordinated activities is extremely difficult in schools. GR provides a framework to help schools create and maintain the settings that permit these activities to take root and help promote school-wide improvement in student achievement and other desired outcomes.