During the brick-and-mortar era in the New World Catholic leadership had the vision (and grace) to construct the combination church-school.
This is the parish church where I grew up, the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord, with attached school and convent. You can see its Gothic with severely simple lines - with an exterior of seven kinds/colors of granite. The cornerstone was laid in 1938.
The first thing the bishops at that time always did was to build a rectory, then a school and then a church, in that order.
The Lord of History had me born into this parish where I received Baptism, first Confession, first Holy Communion and Confirmation.
This is also said to be the first parish in the nation built with an altar "facing the congregation," in the downstairs crypt chapel.
Here's a quote from the original church dedication booklet:
"Members of Nativity Parish should feel proud that they have the first (in these second thousand years) altar facing the people in the United States. They should also be grateful to their Most Reverend Archbishop, who has granted them permission to have their altar so, and to have the recited Mass. Without doubt, there is no better way to show gratitude than by actually assisting at Mass more perfectly."
The basement chapel has since been renovated more than once and nothing original remains. My pastor, Monsignor R.J. Schuler was for fourteen years a curate at this parish and often spoke of his time there as choir director and celebrant of Masses in the lower chapel. At the same time my father was there as an altar server and the pastor from 1948-1956 was Bishop J.J. Byrne, a future Council Father, as later Archbishop of Dubuque.