Maria Carrión-Kozak, Spanish Teacher, Summit School District
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This profile was last updated on 9/28/13 and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.
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Maria Carrión-Kozak

Wrong Maria Carrión-Kozak?

Spanish Teacher

Phone: (970) ***-****  HQ Phone
Summit School District
P.O. Box 7
Frisco , Colorado 80443
United States


Employment History


  • master's degree , Hispanic Studies & Foreign Language teaching
    University of Northern Colorado
12 Total References
Web References
"We want our community to be ... [cached]
"We want our community to be safer and then raise money ... so other kids around the world can get vaccinated," said Maria Carrión-Kozak, SHS Spanish teacher who sponsors the International Club that is helping students gain global perspective.
The International Club developed out of the Spanish Club when Carrión-Kozak took it on last school year.She wanted to broaden the club to make it more global and open the door to a variety of students, instead of focusing on Spanish culture.
Vail Daily News for Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado - News, 18 April 2005 [cached]
"There's a perception that Latinos don't want to learn English, but that's not true," said Maria Carrion-Kozak of Silt, who has worked as an English-As-A-Second Language teacher at Rifle High School and teaches Spanish classes at Colorado Mountain College."A lot of the ESL classes are full.And these people work all day - sometimes 10 to 12 hours - and don't have time to go to an ESL class.Another problem is the lack of education in their own language.It makes it difficult to learn a new language."
Carrion-Kozak is a native of Venezuela and moved to the United States in 1980 to attend college in Boston."I came over to go to college and learn English," she said.
"In 1990, there was already an influx of people from Mexico moving in who didn't speak English," Carrion-Kozak said."I realized that there was a big need to teach Anglos about the Latin American culture."
After a stint with the Aspen Police Department, she started teaching Spanish at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs.
"It's always been my philosophy that for foreign-language classes, a native speaker is the best - they can teach the language and the culture," Carrion-Kozak said."I think a lot of people in this valley are learning the importance of learning another language."
Many Latino families still speak their native tongue at home, she said.
"The parents will still speak Spanish," Carrion-Kozak said.
Those include food, values, the way the family is structured and daily living principles, Carrion-Kozak said.
"Americans are so busy," she said."Latinos are more laid back.They work to be able to live - not live to work."
The Latin culture is also a lot more demonstrative in the way they communicate - with hand gestures, hugs and kisses, she said.
"We talk very up close and we touch," Carrion-Kozak said with a laugh."We're louder."
Latino families typically have strong family ties and religious beliefs."A family gathering includes lots of food and dancing for the grown-ups, teenagers and the kids," Carrion-Kozak said.
"A lot come here because of the work opportunity," Carrion-Kozak said."Most Latinos are not planning to stay, but if things don't get better in their country, they do stay.
"And even though the jobs (here) may be paying poorly," she added, "it's better than what they could get at home."
Colorado is an attractive location to Latinos, not only because of the close proximity to the border, but because the mountainous terrain and the climate remind them of home.Now re-married and with two more children, Carrion-Kozak is a permanent resident of the U.S., but still misses her country, she said.
"I miss my Latino culture," she said, wiping away a tear. - Diane Carman, 25 May 2003 [cached]
Rifle High School Spanish teacher Maria Carrion-Kozak saw some information about a program at the University of Denver Center for Teaching International Relations.She was the adviser for the International Affairs Club.This looked interesting.
Carrion-Kozak is from Venezuela, and, as it turned out, the 20 students who joined the club were all Latinos - some first-generation immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador.
Carrion-Kozak admits she was freaked.
"I was not prepared for this at all," she said."I'm a Spanish teacher.I have no background in this."
But the students were eager, so she enlisted Kim Goossens, a school board member, to help with the project, and they went to work.
The kids began doing research after school.None of them had a personal computer at home, so most of the work was done at the homes of Carrion-Kozak and Goossens.
FARMER'S KORNER - With the start ... [cached]
FARMER'S KORNER - With the start of a new class at Summit High School, Maria Carrión-Kozak is hoping to knock down obstacles some native Spanish speakers face while they chase higher education.
The pilot class, Heritage Spanish Speakers level one, is based off research showing that higher proficiency in one's native language makes it easier to acquire a second.And recently, Summit School District Board of Education voiced its full support of starting the class this fall.
"This is going to be the Spanish speakers' language arts," said Carrión-Kozak, Spanish teacher at SHS where 11.5 percent of the population are English Language Acquisition students.
The class is specifically designed for students who grew up in a home where Spanish is spoken, but they may not necessarily know how to read or write the language well.It will include a cultural aspect, reading and writing, presentation and essay skills and guest speakers.
"These kids need role models," said Carrión-Kozak, who personally understands some of the struggles the students face.
This doesn't work for a couple reasons, Carrión-Kozak said.
When Carrión-Kozak was working on her master's degree between 2002 and 2004 at the University of Northern Colorado, she began looking into this issue and developing curriculum.
In 2006, Carrión-Kozak came to Summit School District, and during her first school year here, talked to colleagues about the idea for the class.She then visited two schools with this type of class in Denver and Fort Collins.What she heard from those teachers is, the students self-esteem increased, attendance records increased and the students were able to make a better connection with English and other subjects.
The feedback Marchesano and Carrión-Kozak heard at that meeting from board members was a desire to take the class to all the schools in Summit.
"The district understands that by educating all the students, we are building a better community," Carrión-Kozak said.Also, the goal is for students is to be biliterate, bilingual and bicultural, she added.
"If it all goes well and we see the improvement others school have seen, we would like to see it go Pre-K through 12," said Carrión-Kozak who will be tracking the students' progress.
The plan is to the start the first level of the class in the coming year and then the following year have a level two class at SHS and break the first level into three parts at Summit Middle School.
Right now, school officials are in the process of assessing who of the 39 students signed up for the class next year would benefit most.And they've had to be a bit creative with the budget in order to make it happen, so expansion in the future may pose some challenges.
"I really strongly believe it (the class) will make a huge difference," Carrión-Kozak said.
Anyone interested in donating items, such as Spanish-Spanish dictionaries or reading materials, to help with the Heritage Spanish Speakers class, or coming in as a guest speaker, should contact Maria Carrión-Kozak.Her e-mail is or number 547-9311, ext. 1309.
"The judges were just so impressed ... [cached]
"The judges were just so impressed with them," said María Carrión-Kozak, SHS Spanish teacher who is the sponsor of the club.
The students' presentation focused on the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccines, and before competing, they held a vaccine clinic with the help of Summit County Public Health.At the clinic, they raised $460 that will go to UNICEF International Immunization Program, where for every $1 donated, two children can get vaccinated in a developing country, explained Carrión-Kozak.
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