High School education in Calumet City, Lansing and Burnham dates back to 1917 when Wentworth High School was organized. Thornton Fractional school district was organized in 1924. The school was still called Wentworth until 1926 when a new building was finished. The school then changed its name to Thornton Fractional Township High School, since its district was a fraction of Thornton Township, not the normal 36 square mile area. Over the years, portions of Bloom Fractional Township to the south and Thornton Township to the west have been annexed to add more area to the district.

In December of 1933 the high school was destroyed by fire. The new school was finished in 1936. Only the swimming pool remains from the original structure. Today, that section is the main part of T. F. North. Many additions have been added through the years to meet the increasing needs of the community. It now serves approximately 1,700 students from Calumet City and Burnham.

Thornton Fractional South was built because of the great increase in student population within the district following World War II. The school opened the second semester of 1958 and served students living south of 159th Street. When it opened it had approximately 1,000 students; it now serves approximately 2,000 students from Lansing and Lynwood. Many additions have been built over the years. The boundary line between the schools was changed in 1960 from 159th Street to the Little Calumet River.

In 1971 the school district bought a building in Calumet City and converted it into an administration center. It opened in 1972. The center has been renovated numerous times over the years to meet the changing administrative needs of the district.

In the late 1970s, the school district decided to build a vocational center to house vocational programs that could serve both high schools. It was opened in 1978 on land between the administration center and the Little Calumet River. Over the years, the facility has been expanded and reorganized to be used for more than vocational education. It serves students from both high schools. It is currently called The Center for Academics and Technology.