WXXI AM News

Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Need to Know Host

Hélène Biandudi Hofer is host and producer of WXXI TV's Need to Know, an award-winning, half-hour weekly news and public affairs program. Hélène joined the station in September 2010 as the host of All Things Considered.

Before moving to Rochester, Hélène worked at the CBS Primetime show 48 Hours Mystery in New York City. While at CBS she contributed to several documentary specials for the network including the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the tribute to news icon Walter Cronkite, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the CBS/VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out program.

Hélène is a graduate of New York University’s Broadcast Journalism program. After graduation, she returned to her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, where she worked as an associate producer for WBNS-TV.

Ways to Connect

Students and community members are rallying in downtown Rochester Friday afternoon to honor the life of a young man known as an “ambassador for change.”

The Monroe Community College student government is joining with the Center for Teen Empowerment to celebrate the life of Lawrence Richardson. The 22-year-old was murdered earlier this month.

Rochester’s School Board President says the superintendent search process was “transparent.”

That’s in response to protestors who demonstrated during superintendent candidate Dr. Bolgen Vargas’s presentation at a public forum Tuesday night.

Malik Evans says the move by a group of community members was in an effort to discredit the interim superintendent.

But Lori Thomas, a 5th grade teacher in the District, who also joined with the protestors, says the issue is with the superintendent search process, more so than Vargas.

The two men vying for the post of permanent Rochester City School Superintendent met with the public for nearly six hours Tuesday at East High School.

Interim Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and Houston school administrator Andrew Spencer addressed a number of topics, from managing student behavior in school to alternative education programs.

Spencer points to his success in Houston where a successful alternative program is underway called a personal graduation plan.

Bolgen Vargas cited his recent recommendations to the School board for an alternative school.

One of the finalists in the search for Rochester’s next city school chief says while he’s not from the area - that’s an asset for the district and the community.

Andre Spencer currently serves as the School Improvement Officer for the Houston Independent School District in Texas. He’s also one of two finalists in the superintendent search - along with Dr. Bolgen Vargas.

Spencer says he understands Rochestarians may want a “local” school chief, but he says someone with a fresh slate in the area with no local ties should be viewed as a plus

Rap & Hip Hop: Uniters or Dividers?

Apr 15, 2012

WXXI's Helene Biandudi reports on the influence of rap and hip hop music among young people in and around Rochester.

The story examines the power the music has to bring people together, but also looks at the potential negative impact when it glorifies violence and demeans women. Our cameras visited the classroom of Dr. Miri Pardo at St. John Fisher College where they study rap & hip hop.

Also, WXXI News Director Julie Philipp leads a discussion about the issue with the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board's James Lawrence and Erica Bryant.

The Rochester City School District is talking budget tonight. Interim Superintendent, Dr. Bolgen Vargas, will present his budget for the next school year, where he’ll outline a plan to close the District’s $44 million deficit.
WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi has more on the challenges the District is facing right now and what’s on and off the table to help close that gap.

City School Board President Malik Evans says the state’s budget provides needed relief for Rochester.

An increase of more than $800 million in education spending in the state budget will be targeted toward high needs school districts including Rochester.

WXXI News reports on measuring the effectiveness of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection.

This story includes interviews with those who express concerns about the effectiveness of the program and supporters who say it is vital to the success of many young people.

Click on the video box below to wathc the story that first aired on WXXI's Need to Know Rochester program on Friday, March 16, 2012.

WXXI News profiles Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection and its impact on students in the Rochester City School District.

Click on the video box below to watch the story that first aired on WXXI's Need to Know Rochester program on Friday, March 9, 2012.

Tyriek Porcha-Blackwell sees college in his future – a future that was in jeopardy not that long ago.

Applications are rolling in right now for a new charter school in Rochester aimed at making students ready for the workplace.

The Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School will open its doors to 80 ninth grade students at the beginning of the school year.

Dennis Francione, CEO of the new charter is a former principal in the city school district.

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