Students and families of Clarence Farrington School 61 will be treated to a night of food and fun Thursday as Fifth Third Bank kicks off a unique partnership to improve academic performance and provide students the resources to ensure success.

Fifth Third Bank is the first of 11 local businesses to publicly launch its effort as part of the Indianapolis Public Schools Business Alliance, a transformative partnership that began earlier this year designed to bring together business and school leaders to improve academic performance and impact student outcomes.

Fifth Third Bank’s education champions met with school administrators to identify goals for the year. One of the first challenges identified was a need for more age-appropriate and Spanish language books in the library. Fifth Third employees took action by raising more than $2,600 to purchase books for the library. More books and interactive educational tools will be given as prizes during Thursday’s event.

The Clarence Farrington Family Fun Night, an invitation-only event, will include food and games provided by Fifth Third as well as information about various community resources available to help in the effort. This is the first of several events planned between Fifth Third and Clarence Farrington for 2015.

The Community and Economic Development department at Fifth Third drafted an action plan to help Clarence Farrington School during the next year. Priorities to improve student achievement include increasing community and parental involvement; addressing English Language barriers; increasing effective staff/faculty development and retention; and enhancing the school’s ability to effectively communicate its programs, initiatives and successes with parents and the community.

“Our public schools represent the first and best point of contact to have a lasting impact on the children in our community, and we are committed to doing our share to help Clarence Farrington reach its goals,” said Steven Alonso, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, Greater Indiana. “Rather than simply write a check to address this issue, we intend to provide volunteers to interact and enhance the academic experience for these students and rally parents, staff and our employees around opportunities to create a better life for these kids.”

“This partnership exemplifies the goal of the IPS Business Alliance,” said Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “We’re proud to see strong community partners teaming up with our schools to promote innovative methods for enhancing our students’ education.”