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

High school valedictorians in the city school district received special honors Monday.

Mayor Tom Richards recognized 18 students at City Hall who were selected to represent their school’s graduating class.

Prom season and budget votes often coincide for school districts. But the glitz, glamor and hype of the prom was a far cry from the recent budget vote night at the city school district’s Central Office.

Instead of conversations about corsages, tuxedos and limousine rentals, words like fund balance, reserves, and appropriated funds, were tossed around among school board members. Those terms hold a lot of weight in a district’s budget.

New York State has been granted a flexibility waiver from the Bush era No Child Left Behind law.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the approval for New York this afternoon during a conference call with reporters, "In exchange for state developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focusing aid on the neediest students and supporting effective teaching and leaderships. This brings the number of states with NCLB waivers to 19."

A new charter school opening this fall is offering a curriculum that addresses the concerns of the business community.

Dennis Francione is the Founder and CEO of the Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School located downtown on Hart Street.

Governor Cuomo is calling on the state Legislature to act on a proposal to create a justice center in the state for people with special needs.

Cuomo says the bill addresses an ongoing problem of abuse by employees in state mental health and special needs facilities.

The Governor says the new center will set up two justice mechanisms, "One, for really serious offenses, a special prosecutor who can bring criminal charges, specializing in justice area dealing with justice population and becoming expert in the challenges that are presented here."

Local teen filmmakers are giving viewers an inside look at the issues that impact youth, and they’re doing it through mini-documentaries.

Teens involved in the Raising 100,000 Voices Project shared their films with the public Wednesday night at a special screening at The Little Theatre.

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