The middle school program is designed to meet the special needs and characteristics of the adolescent student; it is student-centered, content specific, and data driven. Middle schools provide students with consistent academic and behavior expectations from all staff. Because an informed parent is essential to a student's success, a basic tenet of the middle school program is to communicate with parents at every opportunity. The middle school program also promotes communication among teachers through the interdisciplinary team approach. Within the team, discussions concerning the students' performance and welfare take place across disciplines. The teachers' communication in team meetings provides them with a more complete picture of the student's work and helps early identification of any problems or weaknesses a student may have. Parents should participate in student- led conferences where the teachers serves as facilitator and the student uses a portfolio to update the parent. Middle school is a time when students must begin to take ownership of their own learning with staff support.